April 19, 2013 | Beer, Reviews

Sweetwater Brewing Some Strange II

Sweetwater Brewing Some Strange II photo

Just the other day, I published a post that had Sweetwater Brewing’s announcement that they had quadrupeled production with a revamp of their brewing system. Well, now I get to enjoy the fruits of that effort. Some Strange II — a 10% ABV Black IPA that’s part of the company’s Dank Tank series — is the first brew to come out of the new system.

Upon receiving this package from the brewery, I initially had mixed emotions. I was excited to try a new beer (especially one that is the inaugural release of a new system), but at the same time, my experiences with Black IPAs has been mixed at best. Well, all worries quickly evaporated the moment that I cracked open the bottle, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s talk about what goes into making a beer like this. The brewery used coffee and chocolate malts to form the base then added in Amarillo, Pacific Jade and Zythos hops into the brew. Further dry-hopping was employed with Falconer’s Flight, Falconer’s 7 C’s and Topaz varieties. Now, the only one of those hop strains that I am fully familiar with is Amarillo. The rest of completely new to me or at least, I was unaware that I’d been enjoying them in the past.

The end result of all those hops is a beer that may be black as night, but is packed full to the brim with tropical fruitiness, pine resin and just enough of a malt profile to let you know it’s there. It’s a wonderfully boozy, yet smooth drinking beer that « also with the announcement that the company is expanding to Virginia later this year — I cannot wait to get my grubby hands more of this stuff.

Appearance

Some Strange II pours a dark cola brown with a creamy, light tan head that fell slowly leaving behind sticky lacing.

Aroma

There are loads of hops in this dark brew. Grapefruit, orange, pineapple and pine resin come together in an aroma that is earthy and herbal. A subtle background roast lingers gently.

Taste

Wow. This has to be the hoppiest black anything I’ve had. Loads of citrus and tropical fruits fill the mouth along with pine and a mild amount of roast malt. The beer has got an excellent balance — meaning that, yes it’s hoppy, but not in a palate destroying sense. The beer packs a pretty moderate hop bitterness but not astringency from the roasted malt. It’s smooth with very little alcohol present within the brew.

Overall

I’ve had a few black IPAs in the past year or so and so far only the Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (brewed with the addition of rye) had wowed me. Well, now I’ve got two stand out examples that are prime examples of what this polarizing style can achieve. Both beers are well balanced and pack a solid hop character. As far as Some Strange II goes, anything that comes out after it on the brewery’s new system is alread set on the right track. This beer is excellent.

Rating: 4.25/5

This is a review of a promotional sample from the brewery.

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